Solomon & Reese Commit
There are almost 900 miles between Leesburg, Ga. and Ann Arbor, Michigan. But that didn't matter for four-star prospects Otis Reese and Aubrey Solomon, who committed to Michigan on Saturday.
"I never thought about distance," said Otis Reese to Sam Webb ($). "(Committing) wasn't really a (sure thing) before I came. It was maybe 50/50. But when I got there it was like 100-percent. It was just... I saw the campus and the coaches how they go about their business. I just loved it from the start."
A lot of credit here goes to Chris Partridge, who is one of the best recruiters in the country and Reese's future position coach. "We have a great relationship," Reese added. "We already started watching film. We're on it. I'm ready to go out there and make plays, ready to play for him. He's a great guy."
The surprise, though, was Aubrey Solomon, who hadn't been expected to commit. However, as Sam Webb detailed ($):
"I came into Michigan not knowing that I had an offer," Solomon said. "Once I found that out it really changed everything. Then seeing what they could do for me in the future, like 10-20 years after football, I just fell in love with it. It wasn't just football, it was ‘what would I do for the rest of my life after football?'"
The Peach State star wasn't on campus very long before thoughts of committing began crossing his mind.
Solomon, who is 6'3", 305, has been told "I could possibly play every position (on the defensive line). They don't just see me as a nose guard." Meanwhile, the staff sees Reese, who is currently 6'2", 195, as a future SAM linebacker - just like Jabrill. In fact, according to Steve Lorenz ($), Otis Reese is the staff's #1 option for that position for his cycle.
And as for Solomon, Lorenz called his commitment the second biggest of Harbaugh's tenure. "He is a kid who has visited Auburn, Alabama and Georgia multiple times, but dropped on his first visit to Ann Arbor. ... Solomon is universally regarded as one of the south's top prospects, and to see him verbally commit on his first visit to campus is something other kids will absolutely take notice of."
So, what happened with some of the big names on campus? Let's start with Nico Collins, who is now a five-star on Rivals ($). Collins walked away with a good vibe, and got to know Dylan McCaffrey some more.
"Michigan, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Alabama. Everything seems so right and special about that group," he said. "I'll decide on signing day. I'm going to take all of my officials, then decide in February."
My gut says Michigan still leads, but just as before, that's somewhat irrelevant. This one will be a marathon, and Michigan needs to continue what it's been doing.
Meanwhile, Kai-Leon Herbert was blown away ($) by his visit.
"The coaching staff and the campus life stood out to me most," he said. "It's far and away my favorite visit so far - it blew my mind."
As mentioned earlier, Herbert had no intentions of even considering U-M a few months ago. He was excited for this visit and the Wolverines had been recruiting him the hardest, but the visit was way beyond what he expected.
"Coming into the visit, I expected it to be like any other school," he said. "Coming out of the visit, it's definitely a school that is on top of everyone else."
Herbert's teammate, TJ Slaton, told Sam Webb ($) that Ann Arbor "feels like home," and as for Coach Harbaugh, "that's a terrific man right there." He admitted Michigan was in his top group of about a half-dozen schools, and that he would like to play with KLH at the next level.
Also, Michigan is trending upward for three-star 2017 cornerback Randall Haynie (Fort Lauderdale, FL), who was effusive ($) in his praise for Ann Arbor.
"Now that I've seen the school it's definitely one of my top (schools)," Haynie said. "The school is beautiful, big campus, it's just great. I didn't think that Michigan would be this big and this beautiful, really. The stadium is gorgeous, it's big, it's huge. Playing on this field, I can already imagine how it feels."
And last but not least, Ambry Thomas also said that ($) Ann Arbor is "like another home" and a lot of people are recruiting him to come play there.
One of the observations of these camps from 247's Isaiah Hole was this ($): "I confirmed with a source that Michigan had up to 30 guys visiting, with a wide range in rankings. We obviously saw two top targets drop for the Wolverines, in Solomon and Reese, but there were many others... All in all, the staff worked very hard to make the camp the clear success that it was. They keep upping their game, and it really shows."
Heavy Dose Of Receivers
Three-star wide receiver Maurice Bell, a native of Murrieta Valley, California, has promised he will be committing soon. And, of course, he was mulling it over while enjoying Ann Arbor ($).
"The coaches at Michigan are all very cool and easy to connect with," Bell said. "It was just a lot of the things they said about life after football. Of course the program is great and the alumni base is very solid too. The atmosphere in Ann Arbor is great too and very diverse as well. It was just a great all-around visit."
Bell will be deciding in the next month or so, and Michigan is in great shape with him.
Meanwhile, four-star receiver Jhamon Ausbon has not actually visited ($) Ann Arbor yet, but he plans to in the coming week. Michigan has managed to stay in the race so far by relying on its ace recruiter.
"...and it's kind of weird, Coach Harbaugh has been recruiting me a lot as a head coach," Ausbon told The Michigan Insider.
"That's weird cause some like to keep their hands clean. But he's been involved."
And finally, one last name on the docket is four-star receiver Tarik Black (Cheshire, CT), who wore tons of Michigan gear at the Connecticut satellite camp and has been a fan of Michigan for a while. Black is teammates with another athlete who is strongly considering Michigan, C.J. Holmes.
To step back for a moment, all of this seems to indicate that the size of the 2017 class will indeed by in the upper 20's, as has been projected before. The sheer number of receivers, backs, linebackers, offensive linemen, and defensive linemen being recruited right now, in addition to some small needs at safety, corner and tight end, don't add up otherwise.
Going For The Jugular
Michigan has added two game-changing players for its defensive line in the last week and a half, thanks to commitments from the aforementioned Solomon and weakside defensive end Luiji Vilain. Harbaugh also has pledges from in-state talents Corey Malone-Hatcher and Phillip Paea. Still, Michigan seems to be aiming for more.
One relevant name that's coming onto the radar a little bit is Texas native and four-star defensive end K'lavon Chaisson. Chaisson had this to say to Scout ($).
"I like Coach Mattison. I mean, there's got to be something if the No. 1 player in the nation is playing defensive end," Chaisson said.
"There's something I need to know about him so they're in consideration. I want to get out there but it's a little distance from here so I got to work it out with my parents."
Chaisson is 6'4" and only 211 pounds, which gives you an idea of what kind of defensive end he will be. Speed rushing, all day long.
Chaisson grew up rooting for Baylor and Oregon, but now that he has almost two dozen offers, "all that favoritism stuff goes out the way," he said.
"The defense, the coaching staff stability [is what matters]," he said. "I don't want to go nowhere, especially with the Baylor situation going on, I hate to be one of them guys in that situation where you just feel like you have to leave."
Also, Garrett Fishaw is reporting that Michigan is doing well for another defensive tackle out of the south, three-star Mobile, Alabama native Neil Farrell.
Michigan has some slow-burning momentum built up with its defensive line recruiting, and it would honestly not surprise me if the Wolverines came out of 2017 with the best DL class in the country.
Michigan Trending For Two New Offers
In the wake of integrating the law firm Solomon & Reese, some were speculating that Michigan would also add a third partner to the operation. This speculation was largely centered on Andrew Stueber, who got offered a scholarship and was reportedly extremely excited ($) about it. However....
"I did not commit. I definitely want to get my mom up here, but it's been hard with the dead period. I believe they are having a barbecue on August 6 and I will definitely be attending with my mom and I want to make a decision this summer," Stueber said.
Even with a shortened timeline, though, Stueber's recruitment has plenty more to unfold. He has yet to look into ($) into a number of other teams like Harvard, Duke, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Penn State.
Another reason for the commit watch this weekend was because of three-star, 6'3", 250-pound defender Anthony Payne, out of Peculiar, Missouri. This was his first FBS offer, so it's less than surprising that Michigan is in the lead.
"At the top," Payne said of where Michigan stands. "They offered me at more of a linebacker position instead of d-line but a place like Michigan is a game-changer. You can never count a school like that out."
Mustapha Muhammad Enjoys Visit
Mustapha, a four-star 2018 tight end out of Texas, is listed as the #8 tight end in his cycle by 247Sports. In solid brick-laying fashion, he enjoyed himself on campus this weekend and soaked up some sun.
"The visit was awesome," Muhammad told Tanner Wooten. "I enjoyed every part of it. One of my favorite parts was the view from the top of the Bell Tower. Meeting Coach (Jim) Harbaugh was pretty cool and he is a great coach that I'd love to play for. They are definitely in my top list of schools."
Muhammad also spoke to Brice Marich, and said he wasn't sure if distance would be a factor ($). Weather, however, would not.
"It was a beautiful day out here and not too hot or windy," said Muhammad. "I know in the winter it gets to be pretty cold, but I'm going to have to get used to that because I plan on playing in the NFL one day and half the teams are north and are down south. Michigan has all four seasons and I really like that."